Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The first thing I noticed was the grouchy sullen customers seated around the room -- perched is probably a better way to describe this as there wasn't really anywhere to sit. So they were leaning against displays, sitting on the ground... The second thing I noticed was the sullen AT&T employee with a clipboard who approached me.
"Hi, can I put you on the waiting list?" he asked.
"Uh... how long is the wait?"
"Only 20-30 minutes."
OK, so here I am, a live customer wanting to give them my money, and they want me to sit on the ground in their store for 20-30 minutes in order to have the privilege of buying something from them!? I said no thank you, turned around and walked right out again. Off to the Apple store a few more blocks down Market.
When I arrived at the Apple store it was buzzing with happy people. A smiling Apple employee was waiting at the front door here as well.
"How can I help you today?" he asked.
"I'd like to buy an iPhone 3G"
"I can bring it right to you - do you know what size and color you want?"
This is a company that actually wants my business. Too bad it is attached to one that doesn't. Like Oscar and Felix, you have to wonder (other than a script writer looking for gags) what makes these two companies able to even stand talking to each other much less trying to offer a joint customer experience.
When I happily walked back to my office, I had to stop at the AT&T store again and wave my new phone at the sullen AT&T employee with the clipboard. In the same amount of time that I would have been sitting on the floor of his horrible shop I had walked to the Apple store, had a great shopping experience, and walked back again.
Memo to AT&T executives -- could you PLEASE learn something from your partner Apple?
Monday, November 17, 2008
Yes, it is expensive to attend. But overall, there are few better places to check in with the leading change-makers in technology and business. The topics, people, and format all generated a perfect environment for thinking about the coming year and what we have to get done as business people and citizens to improve our companies and the world.
Whether it was Mary Meeker pushing through 50 slides in 20 minutes of her Technology / Internet Trends Report or Shai Agassi explaining how his company Better Place is transforming the way we will use electric cars or the brilliant closing remarks by Al Gore about the election and how the Internet is transforming democracy... Web 2.0 Summit absolutely delivered on the promise that:
"...the leaders of the Internet economy are turning their attention to the world outside our industry. And conversely, the best minds of our generation are turning to the Web for solutions. At the fifth annual Web 2.0 Summit, we'll endeavor to bring these groups together."They did and I was glad I was there for the event. I'll be a paying attendee again in 2009.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
They seem to have a great group of sponsors and also have over $9k in prizes, including:
-Amex Gift Cards
-Dell 24” flat panel LCD monitor
Hope I see you there!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Sure, you just lost 20 million euros. Sure your staff is all about to go on strike. But maybe your real problem is that you have really lousy policies that demonstrate that you hate your customers!
I booked a flight from Heathrow to Dublin - a route you fly every hour. I happened to get done in London early and came out to the airport early. So I walked up to your ticket counter to see if there was space on an earlier flight. Why yes, there is! In fact there is lots of space! And not just on one flight, but on three flights prior to mine (I am on the last of the day). BUT your policy is to charge full fare -- an extra 150 pounds sterling -- to change!! That is stupid.
You had the chance to delight me by getting to Dublin early, at no additional cost to you. Instead I am sitting in the Heathrow airport, mad at you, vowing never to book on your airline again.
Sounds like you'll lose more than 20 million euros next year. In fact, I think you'll be BANKRUPT. In a bad economy, the remaining customers have choices and they will choose the best airlines - and that is NOT you.
Or you can change! It would be hard, but give it a try.. oh yeah. You aren't even listening.
Well, for the rest of you that are -- take a look at Aer Lingus, they are a great example of what NOT to do.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Here’s a framework of 22 tools to consider with notable brand examples:
1. Blogs (Johnson & Johnson, Delta Air Lines)
2. Bookmarking/Tagging (Adobe, Kodak)
3. Brand monitoring (Dell, MINI)
4. Content aggregation (Alltop, EMC)
5. Crowdsourcing/Voting (Oracle, Starbucks)
6. Discussion boards and forums (IBM, Mountain Dew)
7. Events and meetups (Molson, Pampers)
8. Mashups (Fidelity Investments, Nike)
9. Microblogging (method, Whole Foods)
10. Online video (Eukanuba, Home Depot)
11. Organization and staffing (Ford, Pepsi)
12. Outreach programs (Nokia, Yum Brands)
13. Photosharing (Rubbermaid, UK Government)
14. Podcasting (Ericsson, McDonalds)
15. Presentation sharing (CapGemini, Daimler AG)
16. Public Relations - social media releases (Avon, Intel)
17. Ratings and reviews (Loblaws, TurboTax)
18. Social networks: applications, fan pages, groups, and personalities (British Airways, Saturn)
19. Sponsorships (Coca-Cola, Whirlpool)
20. Virtual worlds (National Geographic, Toyota)
21. Widgets (Southwest Airlines, Target)
22. Wikis (Second Life, T-Mobile Sidekick)
Definitely worth reading the whole post but also his blog, Being Peter Kim
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
You know I am a huge supporter, have been a LinkedIn member since you were in private Beta. And you know how eagerly I have awaited the launch of your applications platform.
But I have to say, I keep finding myself saying "what the heck??" when I try to use your product.
I'd like to suggest that you open up a collaborative product development process with your customers to get feedback from the people that want you to succeed on how your product needs to evolve to achieve the promise that it so clearly has but has not yet fulfilled.
This kind of message (see attached) tell me in big red bold type - GO AWAY, DON'T USE OUR PRODUCT.
I don't think that is the message you want to send.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
The News Media They Are A-Changin'
Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that sources of news
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be digital to the bone.
If your news to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start webbin'
Or you'll disappear with a moan
For the news media they are a-changin'.
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the web's still developin'
And there's no tellin' who
will be reportin'
For the journalist now
Will be later a citizen
For the news media they are a-changin'.
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
The internet has come
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your Windows
And rattle your walls
For the news media they are a-changin'.
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old print forms are
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the news media they are a-changin'.
The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the news media they are a-changin'.
Friday, October 31, 2008
In the meantime, Apple, why can't I take my US SIM card and slide it into that UK iPhone. Did you really have to lock phone serial numbers to particular carriers? Sigh. So now I have to carry two phones EVEN IF they are both 3G iPhones.
Which brings me to my other complaint - why can't the carriers figure out how to let us have reasonable calling rates from multiple countries? Even if I have to have a contract with multiple carriers, my SIM should be "multi-homed" -- registered with each carrier I have a contract with.
Anyone in the telecommunications industry listening?
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Already a memo is circulating claiming that a number of well known print publications are close to failure. Here is a partial list, you'll recognize more than a few: Entertainment Weekly, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, SmartMoney, Men's Vogue, Teen Vogue, Nickelodeon, National Geographic for Kids, Sports Illustrated for Kids.
But the economic pain that publishers are going to experience in the next few quarters is going to bring down quite a few larger publications as well. An analysis of advertising spend as a percentage of GDP over the past 100 years shows that it has fluctuated between 1% and 3% but has been remarkably stable over the past 25 years at around 2% of GDP. This has been over a period when annual GDP has grown from 3.5 trillion to 13.8 trillion dollars (though not as large a growth when inflation is taken into account).
It is clear from the historical record that recessionary periods can put pressure on advertising expenditure both through a decline in the GDP and through a decline in the percentage of GDP spent on advertising. The last time annual Real GDP (which is to say, inflation adjusted GDP) actually declined was the beginning of the 1990s.
As you can see in this graph of historical real GDP by quarter and by year as hard as the early 2000 period was for us in tech, annualized Real GDP didn't drop. In both periods, however, advertising spending declined as a percentage of GDP -- in the early 1990s by .1% and in the early 2000s by .2%. So based on this historical record, media companies should expect a decline in the amount spent on advertising due to the current economic crises, and that decline may be especially severe as Real GDP is likely to fall in 2009.
But something else has clearly been going on in the last few years, even as the economy has been growing, which adds a third threat. From 2004 overall advertising spend as a percentage of GDP has declined by .1% in each year, dropping from 2.4% to 2.0% in 2007. From 2006 to 2007 this meant an inflation adjusted dollar decline in advertising. Arguably this decline is coming as the result of the changing spending habits of corporations within the overall marketing budget. As authors John Deighton and Leora Kornfeld argue in the HBSarticle Unanticipated Consequences
"...the shift from broadcasting to interaction within digital communities is moving the locus of control over meanings from marketer to consumer and rewarding more participatory, more sincere, and less directive marketing styles."Marketers who are taking this seriously are shifting dollars away from advertising and into more engaging, more direct connection with markets.
If you take all three factors into consideration, a drop of $50 billion on advertising spend in 2009 is conceivable. The actual drop is likely to be less severe, but could be as much as 10% of total spend (which would be about $30 billion). If so, 2009 will be a watershed year for media.
Look at this from the perspective of the complete ecosystem. Tens of billions of dollars reduced from advertising spend means many fewer jobs at advertising companies and perhaps more than a few that fail. The loss of dollars into media companies will reduce the number of journalists, the number of pages, and probably the number of publications. This will then have an impact on traditional PR as there will be fewer journalists and fewer publications to pitch.
All of this is great news for bringing about a new world of direct company-market communications. It will accelerate the realization by companies that they can talk directly to their customers and prospects -- "more participatory, more sincere, and less directive marketing styles."
Monday, October 27, 2008
And a tie for third place:
We had an incredible group of judges officiating and I must thank all of them --
- Mike Butcher – European Editor TechCrunch
- Olivier Creiche – Vice President and General Manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Six Apart
- Simon Levene – Partner, Accel Venture Partners
- Patrick Liechti – Business Development Manager – Web 2.0 Startups, Sun Microsystems
- Matt Marshall – Managing Editor and CEO, Venture Beat
- Dr. Maximillian Niederhofer – Atlas Ventures
- Mehrdad Piroozram – Managing Partner, iSteps Widget Ventures
- Jens Redmer – Head of European New Business Development, Google
- Carsten Rudolph – Emerging Business Team, Microsoft
- Rob Schiller – Investor and Entrepreneur
- Reshma Sohoni – CEO, Seedcamp
- Yossi Vardi – Investor and Entrepreneur
Part of what made this so much fun was a terrific group of sponsors who provided prizes and sponsored the PitchParty afterwards -- I have to especially thank Ernst & Young, LinkedIn, iSteps, ContentTeam, Hobnox, SixApart, and VentureBeat.
But let me save the most superlatives for the tremendous, astounding, wonderful David Nöel of Hobnox who did an amazing amount of work to bring everything together on the ground in Berlin so that we had a great party and hundreds of happy pitchcampers. THANKS DAVID!
In West Virginia's Jackson County, there were some reports that voting machines were accidentally recording the wrong vote.Can this really be true? Did 81-year-old Calvin Thomas simply make this up in order to raise the specter of Republican voter fraud? Did CNN report this as yet another example of the "liberal biased media" stoking the flames of unrest against our duly elected representative government?
"I went in there and pushed the Democrat ticket, and it jumped to the Republican ticket for president of the United States," said Calvin Thomas, an 81-year-old West Virginian.
I certainly would not go as far as Jack Myers who predicts civil unrest and political demonstrations should the outcome of next Tuesday's election be a defeat for Obama. However, I think it is reasonable to point out to the election commissioners of every state that a perception of fraud in this election will significantly damage the faith of Americans and the world in our democracy and undermine our ability to be a positive force for good in the world. As Myers writes:
This time you will be uncovered. While some may try to obstruct the votes of Democratic-leaning segments of society, hundreds of thousands of poll watchers are on hand outside polling places. The Democratic National Committee has lawyers standing at the ready in contested states.So am I concerned that the election will be stolen? Am I concerned that John McCain, Patriot and war hero, will allow a result to stand which rests upon voter fraud? Absolutely not. If John McCain is elected President of the United States and if John McCain knows that this election was achieved through subverting the democtratic process of this country, I fully expect him to assure his place in our history as a savior of our democracy by standing on stage and telling the American people and the world exactly how the election was stolen and renouncing the results. Note to McCain -- seems like a much easier way to become a permanent positive part of the history of America than trying to turn around this economy!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
One of the core issues that the economy has is not about money, at least not directly. It is about confidence. I am seeing this issue every day -- your business may not have felt any impact from a slowdown in the general economy, but all this bad news is weighing you down. You might feel depression, anxiety, or just be calmly postponing decisions about purchases or investments -- waiting to see how things turn out.
But those behaviors, compounding across the world economy, are bringing about the recession just as certainly as the shortage of capital for commercial paper.
Optimism is an enormously powerful economic stimulant. Pessimism an equally powerful retardent. What we all need to do is rebuild our own confidence, and help those around us. That is where the smiles come in.
First of all, smiling will make YOU feel better. Really. The corners of your mouth pushing upwards actually tricks your brain into releasing chemicals which improve your mood. Try it.
And secondly, smiling is contagious. If people see you smiling, they will find themselves wanting to smile as well.
It's a powerful tribal behavior which we can tap into and help improve the mood, thereby confidence, and by extension the economy.
They didn't call it the great DEPRESSION for nothing. Now get out there and start smiling!
-- Post From My iPhone
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
1. Due to demand from entrepreneurs we have expanded the panel of experts that now includes folks from Google, Sun, Microsoft, Accel, Atlas Ventures and more! Check out the expanded session description here http://www.budurl.com/2wx6
2. We have made the format even more interactive. Now each participating company will be pre-assigned one of the panelists as a coach. There will be a hands on session where the coach helps in real time each company revise the pitch. This should get the competitive juices flowing. Other attendees to the workshop will also be assigned to observe the process.
3. We have found thousands of dollars worth of prizes to give away to the winners who will judged by the entire panel of experts. Check out the site http://www.budurl.com/2wx6 for more details on the prizes
4. Every participating company will get a prize!
5. We have a facebook event page, please sign up http://www.budurl.com/eu8v
6. IMPORTANT the deadline for submitting an application to pitch and participate is OCTOBER 11th. Email me to get an application -- tshelton (a) theconversationgroup.com
7. Several companies who are financially strapped have approached us to see if they could participate. We are talking to the O’Reilly folks about the possibility of getting one, but at most two session only passes for 1-2 worthy companies. Not a done deal yet, but we are hopeful. FYI if they become available these passes will only get you into the Pitchcamp Workshop and nothing else. So if your applying to pitch and are operating on a shoestring, in the applications process please let us know your circumstances and we will see what we can do to offer you a Scholarship!
8. PARTY – we are having a special VIP party later Tuesday night ONLY for people who attend the workshop. Details and tickets will be provided at the workshop, but take my word for it… it’s going to be great!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
where you will see the great lineup of folks at our panel:
* Mike Butcher – European Editor TechCrunch
* Toby Copel – Managing Director of Europe, Yahoo!
* Matt Marshall – Managing Editor and CEO, Venture Beat
* Mehrdad Piroozram – Managing Partner, iSteps Widget Ventures
* Reshma Sohoni – CEO, Seedcamp
* Adam Valkin – Head of Digital Media and New Business, Endemol
* Yossi Vardi – Investor and Entrepreneur
BUT HERE IS THE IMPORTANT PART -- PAY ATTENTION
Sorry for yelling :-) Robert and I are looking for 8-12 startups that want to participate in the camp as the example companies (anyone can come and participate as an attendee of Web 2.0 Expo). These participating companies get
1) one-on-one coaching by one of our panelists
2) special prizes for participating and even better prizes for being the best
3) oh, and you'll probably improve the way you tell your story to VCs, partners, and the media!
Send an email to Robert -- robert(at)crossroadsvc(dot)com -- if you want to be one of the companies.
See you in Berlin!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
In Keen's book we are told that a terrible thing is happening, all kinds of people are connecting to each other online and sharing their views with each other and this "amateur content" is destroying "our cultural standards and moral values." I could, complain about how Keen's view is stuck somewhere in the past, but this pro-establishment view is thoroughly entrenched in our culture and regularly keeps otherwise rational people from understanding the radical reformation of our society that is underway.
In one recent conversation a seemingly well-educated person told me that she only reads reviews of movies in the New Yorker and thinks it is ridiculous that people would trust average people's individuals views on movies instead of a trusting a "professional movie reviewer."
I thought she must be joking, so I laughed... which did not seem to go over well.
So I pointed out that I would much rather have the opinions of other liberal dads with daughters about a movie than some "professional" in New York who I may have nothing in common with and who may be evaluating the movie based on criteria meaningless to me. It was fascinating to hear her angry retort:
"sure, and someday maybe we'll go into a science classroom and anyone who wants to will get up and give the lecture instead of someone who actually knows something about science!"Wow, I thought. This really misses the whole point. Whether a movie is good or not is about a statement of preference. Sure, a professional videographer might have something to say about the quality of the camera work -- but when I am reading a review, I just want to know whether or not I will have a good time!
So in cases of preference, an "amateur" opinion can be just as (if not more) valuable than "professional" opinion since it may more accurately reflect a view that has relevance for the recipient. So what about cases where opinion is not at stake, where presumably there is some agreed upon "facts?"
Certainly it is true that if I want specific knowledge I want to go to someone whom I trust to have the knowledge -- so in a science class I would want an instructor that has, through some professional process, been certified as having such knowledge... But then shall we leave aside that such certification can be unreliable ?
Which brings up a second dimension -- how does one becomes a professional and be "certified" -- and why do we assume that the way in which "professionals" are certified is better than any other method for identifying experts? It is a testament to how deeply we believe in "professionals" that we want to see an institutional certification and that this is more trusted than recognition from a community.
What I see happening in this "amateur" media is that the audience, instead of editors, are selecting the best content producers. They are recommending the best producers by reading them, linking to them, and recommending them. This does present a challenge when "facts" are at stake -- the writer most preferred by an audience might not be the one who is the most accurate. And it certainly doesn't put any sort of control in place for reviewing material for accuracy.
But this has a way of self-correcting over time. The web provides a platform for debate. Over time on any truly controversial issue, the conversation becomes a bell curve -- advocates on one side and opponents on the other with the bulky middle made up of people who don't really care.
And hasn't that always been true with the "professionals" as well?
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
(1) America vs. the rest of the world
How do we in America want to play on the world scene? I believe that Barack Obama is America's best chance to re-engage as a partner in solving the world's many problems. During the last eight years we have become an arrogant unilateral military force unwilling to cooperate to solve the world's pressing energy, security, economic and environmental issues. We need a President, and I believe Obama is the one, who can entirely change that equation and demonstrate to the world that we are willing to be a peer and collaborate on solutions.
(2) The War on Terror
I do not agree with the language and the policies of America's unilateral "war on terror" -- I believe that our policies have made us less safe in the world, not more. We need to partner with the rest of the developed world to build up the economies and the opportunities of the poorest people. Social equity and economic opportunity is the best solution to the threat of terrorism. It is a people who have nothing to lose that will throw their lives away against those that they perceive to be tyrants. So help them have something they are afraid to lose. Build up their economies and their lives. Obama offers policies of economic and social engagement with the poorest parts of the world -- and a message of reconciliation and hope that I believe, coming from him, that they will hear.
(3) The growing disparity in wealth here in America
The best America, the strongest America, is the one which has a strong and healthy middle class. Obama is committed to increasing economic and social equality here in the US. I believe that innovation is the key to solving the world's problems and that we need a tax system which encourages and rewards innovation. But we can achieve this goal without gutting the middle class and forcing more and more of our population into the desperation of poverty. In fact, we cannot have a system which encourages and rewards innovation if we end up with a population of haves and have-nots. The greatest strength of our democracy and our economy is the well-educated middle class with disposable income. Obama's policies on taxes, education, and healthcare will reverse the current frightening trends to create a small population of super rich surrounded by a nation of the very poor.
(4) Technology and innovation
More than any candidate Obama understands the importance of technology and innovation - whether it is his support for NASA and manned space missions, his focus on increased competitiveness in telecommunications, his understanding that we must make massive investments in energy innovation, or his recognition that fundamental research in the sciences must not be bogged down by religious bickering - Obama is the one candidate ready to make innovation the centerpiece of the next great age of our nation.
(5) Tolerance of Diversity
Both as a symbol and through the government he will lead, Obama will lead our nation in embracing the most important values that have made us successful over the past 200+ years -- embracing diversity and equality of all people regardless of their beliefs, their gender, their color, or any other way in which we are different.
Like I said, this isn't exhaustive. But I think the two candidates - John McCain and Barack Obama - are as different as can be on the issues that I consider to be the most important facing America and the world -- environment, society, economy, global relations, innovation and technology -- I simply do not understand what causes thoughtful Americans to support John McCain. I know that they do, and I seek to understand. But from my perspective, John represents a set of dead-ends that have been fully played out by the Bush administration. We can all see where these policies lead - and it is not good for ANY American in the long run. Nor for anyone in the world.
We have a responsibility as a wealthy nation to think about the whole planet. Vote for Barack Obama so that there is a tomorrow for us, for our children, and for all of those that will come beyond.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
On the subject of John McCain, just a guess - McCain team wrote one press release with the name of the VP candidate left open — then when the announcement came out, inserted Biden's name.
Can't they come up with something more thoughtful than "There has been no harsher critic.." ? I mean, its not even true. Clinton was clearly Obama's harshest critic.
I guess I have lived in California for too long. I just cannot imagine what motivates anyone to believe that McCain would be a good president. And yet there are the polls saying that roughly half of our great nation wants McCain and his promise to:
(1) reduce taxes for the rich
(2) continue to wage war in the middle east
(3) further destroy America's reputation in the world
(4) support anti-competitive policies in telecommunications
(5) restrict research into stem-cells
(6) take away a woman's right to choose in a core issue of her own health and well-being
(7) undermine our basic freedoms
I'd guess I need to try and spend some time hearing why McCain's supporters believe he would be a good leader for our country. For the life of me, I can't understand it at all.
Friday, August 15, 2008
"Jerome Corsi is a discredited liar who is peddling another piece of garbage in order to continue the Bush-Cheney politics he helped perpetuate four years ago. His is one of what will likely be many lie-filled books rushed to print this election cycle that are cobbled together from debunked internet sources to make money and advance a partisan agenda. We will forcefully respond to these smears with all means at our disposal,” said Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor.
Here’s the button you should look for on our www.fightthesmears.com site, which will soon link to the report:
Friday, August 01, 2008
Certainly one of the most memorable events of my family's visit to Europe this summer was our stay at Chateau de Matval, a castle outside Vendome (45 minutes south of Paris by TGV). The castle (oh, chateau I mean) has been restored over the past 30 years through the efforts of Bob and Claude Mitrani. The result is truly amazing -- they have made the castle into a home, but kept intact medieval architectural details (including a low stone doorway arch that I conked my head on).
A highlight of our visit was the treat of having pizza inside a 6th century cave, in the original oven and dining room. This room was already old when in the 1700s people were scratching their names and dates into the limestone arches holding up the ceiling. The fire must be built 10-12 hours before you expect to use the oven but once going can cook an enormous amount of food. In fact this oven was used during World War II to cook bread for the neighboring village of Bonneveau.
Sitting inside caves that have been inhabited since the Chateau was founded in 524 AD is an incredible experience, but the rest of the castle is just as amazing as well. The tower is one of the few that exist from the 12th century - many having fallen or been destroyed. Originally this castle likely had four towers and was a traditional square. Other details from the 13th and 14th century including beautiful stone arches have all been restored by the Mitrani family.
Of course the 20th century pool was also nice during the hot afternoons in central France -- all in all a most amazing experience. Bob and Claude have now decided to make their home available for rent during a few weeks of the summer so if you are interested in a chateau for rent at the top of the Loire valley with two of the most wonderful hosts you can imagine - let me know or contact them directly and mention my name. You will have the time of your life!
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
But Brussels is nice...
Monday, June 02, 2008
Its not her first choice certainly. But battling all the way to the convention could lose the race for the Dems AND ruin her chance to run in 2012. Being VP is a heck of a lot better than ending her career. And if she and Barack can win this (and why wouldn't they?) then she is still in line for the presidency -- at least as the favored (undisputed) candidate in 2016.
Good move Hillary.
Obama-Clinton '08 ! OC08
UPDATE: Senator Feinstein begins the drumbeat for a Vice President Hillary Clinton
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
collaborative projects like Wikipedia and Linux represent the next stage of human organization.The heart of Benkler's argument is a distinction he makes between "industrial production" and "distributed production" and "social production." The impact of the transition that Benkler describes reaches far beyond "open source."
In fact I believe that the shift that Benkler describes is also at the core of understanding the way in which business will change over the next decade.
Soho Engineering WorksScottish inventor James Watt filed a patent in 1769 for a steam engine. His company, Soho Engineering Works, is often cited as a landmark on the map of events that brought about the "industrial revolution."
This progress began to accelerate about 150 years ago when the steam engine began to find broad application in transportation and power generation. Mass production, mass markets, and mass media all grew up around this set of technical advances.
The challenge of the modern corporation in the twentieth century was one of coordinating large numbers of resources (people, equipment, capital) by aggregating those resources under the control of a small number of individuals who could direct those resources toward a specific end (you know, capitalism).
Along the way we had to develop hierarchical organizational structures, operational efficiencies to simplify and standardize the role of labor, eliminate differences in products to achieve economies of scale in manufacturing and distribution, and invent a marketing methodology that delivered a simple message to the largest number of people through an increasingly consolidated set of media outlets (you know, industrial production).
And we think of the world that Watt created as being "normal."
How to stop worrying and learn to love the Internet
1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;With a nod to Dr. Strangelove, the late Douglas Adams penned an article for the News Review section of The Sunday Times all the way back on August 29th, 1999 entitled "How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet." Like Strangelove's bomb, Adams sees the Internet as a challenge to us on how to adapt to a world which has suddenly and forever been fundamentally changed by technology. Its funny to read, as Adams always is, but it would be funnier if we had all already understood the core message of change that the Internet brings and shown some adaptability.
2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;
3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.
Far too many of us still believe that the industrial world is normal. In fact it was a brief episode in human evolution. It expresses some of the best and worst of what is possible in moving from tribes to global civilization. And its undoing actual began long before the Internet -- which is to say, like the 80 years that passed between Watt's patent and the real take-off point for the industrial revolution, the technology to bring about the next major economic, social, and political force has actually been at work for decades. The Internet (and the web in particular) is the tipping point -- the application of this new technology into a product that will transform instead of merely change incrementally.
The Magic of Coordinating Distributed ProductionBut many people miss WHY the Internet is so important. They focus on how it "disintermediates" existing markets but this is a symptom not a cause. Some focus on how it "levels the playing field" making it possible for small companies to compete against large ones or individuals to have a voice -- also a symptom. The really important change is in the way in which resources are coordinated.
In an industrial production model, coordination of resources was dependent upon people managing and overseeing the investment, labor, or other resources. But three things have changed this -- virtually free computation, data storage, and network bandwidth. Now we can put the algorithm in charge of coordinating distributed production.
How does this change things?
Each of us have a capacity to produce -- money, data, ideas, opinions, observations. That production can be quickly and easily harnessed via web applications, and then coordinated across all like producers to achieve outcomes that no one person could ever achieve.
A simple example of this is the website "FreeRice" which aggregates attention and cash and converts the two into donations of rice to the UN world hunger program. The site was created by programmer John Breen who was interested in helping his sons study for their SAT college entry exams. So he created a site that provides vocabulary challenges. In exchange for each correct definition 20 grains of rice are donated. These donations are funded by advertising (currently Unilever is promoting their partnership with the World Food Programme) .
So what is happening here? The value to someone (in this case Unilever) for a moment of your attention is worth approximately 20 grains of rice. Alone these pennies of value for your attention and my attention are difficult to do anything with. It is difficult for Unilever to find an efficient way to spend that little money at a time. It is difficult for anyone to do anything with that little. But John Breen, by creating this point of coordinated production called FreeRice, gives Unilever an efficient way to aggregate enough attention to be worth their time (and money) to spend to attract that attention. And the output of that attention, the aggregate of all those pennies for attention, is large enough to make a real difference in the world.
32 Billion grains of rice donated in the first six months.
What does this mean for you?Start applying the following question to the things you want to achieve -- in your business, in your community, and in your life -- how can you use the Internet to coordinate production to more rapidly attain your objective?
This has a set of questions you need to ask in order to be successful. Here is just a beginning: What is the resource you wish to coordinate? What is the right way to engage the people who have that resource? How will you promote this amongst the various participants? What are the component parts that you need to build, buy, borrow? Who will partner with you to make this possible?
How do I get started?Watch Benkler's speech for yourself:
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I made the mistake of booking my London travel through Denver. Why? Because they could guarantee me an upgraded seat into business class (you know - lie flat across the atlantic). Since I am err.. was going straight into meetings in London, sleeping on the plane seemed key.
But first our flight was delayed out of SFO. Then there was some "microburst" activity on the ground in Denver. So I missed the connection. And the next flight to London out of Denver is 8:20 pm the next day. Thats right, one per day.
So I had to get myself out of there -- Here is the crazy routing that still gets me in on the 7th (yes, it took awhile to sort this one out). Denver to Chicago. Chicago to Washington Dulles. Dulles to London. I get in at about 10:00 pm on the 7th.
Total elapsed time - almost 24 hours. Four separate flights. The beautiful insides of SF, Denver, Chicago, Washington, and of course London terminals.
Anyone want to bet on where my luggage ends up?
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
We have expanded the format from the February in New York event to respond to the many requests for more networking time and more discussion time. The full day event (including cocktail reception afterwards) will now include both presentations and breakout sessions for discussion with all attendees.
This larger format is more costly to produce, and so the fee for attending the event will be $185 (continental breakfast, lunch, and cocktail reception are included). But until May 10th you can register for an "early bird" rate of just $95
More on the event:
Ten years ago, four authors came together to start a new conversation about marketing. The result was a book called The Cluetrain Manifesto and with it, Chris Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger nailed 95 Theses on the door of the Internet and challenged us all to wake up to a transformation underway in how companies and people engage in markets. Looking back over the past ten years we have learned a lot about what happens when mass markets adopt collaborative online communities and it is time to revisit this vital document that played an important role in starting a new conversation about what it means to be a marketer. What have we learned? What was right and wrong? What was left out that we should have been thinking about? What should we be thinking about for the next ten years?
* Doc Searls, co-author of "The Cluetrain Manifesto" and fellow at Harvard's Berkman Institute
* Peter Hirshberg, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Technorati and Chairman and Partner at The Conversation Group
* Jeremiah Owyang, VP, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
* Deborah Schultz, independent social media expert
Register for our May 29th event in Palo Alto CA at http://conversation.eventbrite.com/
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Here is the official information:
Blogtropol.us is the dedicated media and networking lounge for bloggers, content producers, and journalists during Web 2.0 Expo 2008. In a private suite, in the middle of the conference action, Blogtropol.us is designed for you to host and share conversations among digital influencers – both online and offline.
Open to all digital media-makers attending Web 2.0 Expo, Blogtropol.us is the exclusive venue for creating media and discussing conference happenings. Daily live streamed and on-demand video shows will be broadcast to cover the most important conversations of the conference for online discussion and sharing.
CONNECT: Free bandwidth, power, workstations and superior Internet connectivity provided
RE-CHARGE: Food, refreshments, beverages, and afternoon happy hour
RELAX: Daily yoga sessions and chair massages
FOLLOW: @blogtropolus on Twitter to keep up with all of the Blogtropol.us and Web 2 action, as it happens
Blogtropol.us is brought to you by: Snap, Mzinga, Something Simpler Systems, BottleNotes, Pandora, Socialtext, Radian6, Elephant Pharmacy, and CNET Webware.
In order to participate you must have a Web 2.0 Expo Pass or conference pass AND you must register for the lounge at - http://blogtropolus.eventbrite.com. Space is limited!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
What has everyone upset? Number one is the idea that the super delegates will select the nominee, against the clear majority expression of will by the direct electorate. As one politically connected friend of mine recently said "that would tear the party apart, like the whigs being destroyed by disagreement in the mid 1800s." I don't believe he was connecting the debate of that time (over slavery) to the debate today (also with a racial component). But it was an interesting point about how deep differences of value can bring to an end institutions which have otherwise stood the test of time. While not as long-lived as the current Democratic party (there have been others), the Whig party lasted a long 23 years -- for some voters it existed during their entire lifetimes at the moment of its destruction.
In case you have been hiding under a rock, but somehow read my blog, the latest in this debate is the entry of Nancy Pelosi into the fray. Through her media representative, her position was clarified quite clearly today:
"The speaker believes it would do great harm to the Democratic Party if superdelegates are perceived to overturn the will of the voters," Daly said. "This has been her position throughout this primary season, regardless of who was ahead at any particular point in delegates or votes.”This was partially in response to a set of big wheel donors who sent a letter to her stating, in part, that superdelegates "have an obligation to make an informed, individual decision about whom to support and who would be the party’s strongest nominee."
The debate about super delegates is of course a veiled debate about Clinton vs. Obama -- sort of like a war in Korea or Vietnam, its a proxy war for the bigger issue. The saddest part of this process for me is in watching the Clintons entirely deconstruct. How does it remain a rational position to say that Obama is not ready for the White House given the broad support he has received from other politicians and from the electorate? To continue this petty and self-serving argument merely reduces Hillary Clinton to the position of spoiler.
Monday, March 24, 2008
I have been reading about the panel on vertical search at the SES conference in New York. Bill Tancer (Hitwise) points out that search is increasingly dominated by Google:
- 66% Google,
- Yahoo 21%,
- MSN 7%
- Ask 4%
- Other 2%
And Google has been doing a great job putting "vertical search" content into its search engine. And so a lot of searchers are going "from search engine to search engine."
The result of this is that many of these vertical search engines receive an enormous amount of their overall traffic from Google (their supposed enemy). These "pass-through vistors" have not learned to go to the vertical search engines, but start with Google, end up at a vertical search location for the results they want, and then move on to their destination -- never developing a relationship directly with the vertical search engine.
The really interesting unanticipated consequence? Vertical search companies are being lulled into believing that there is a mass market audience for their vertical search products. This skews expectations and business model -- making these companies think that this pass-through traffic, which represents the larger share of their page views, is also the most valuable part of their traffic.
Instead, I believe that these vertical search companies would do much better to focus on the dedicated repeat visitors -- the vertical MARKET that their vertical search capabilities appeal to, and to find ways to serve that core repeat audience and not the fickle pass through audience that comes from Google.
Once a vertical search company has focused on their core audience, there are a set of very different decisions they will make about the features and core capabilities to invest in from an engineering perspective. And a very different set of revenue opportunities to explore.
In the end, Google is going to do a great job in virtually every vertical search category for the "casual" searcher. Differentiating from Google is going to mean focusing on the needs of a particular vertical user, not just carving out one data type to index.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Let's get this straight. John McCain believes (from his campaign website) that
"...Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned..."And let's not forget that this is the guy that goes around singing "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."
"...the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman..."and that it should be "...a federal crime for researchers to use cells or fetal tissue from an embryo created for research purposes..."
The scary possibility is that Joe Lieberman with be the nadir this year, instead of Nader -- handing center of the road voters to the conservative coalition and dooming our country to at least four more years of horribly misguided policies, further damaging our reputation in the world, and further eroding our economy.
SAY IT AINT SO JOE
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
To say that the speakers at TED are amazing wouldn't do justice to the incredible breadth of knowledge and depth of experience that these remarkable people have achieved and are able to share through engaging presentations. Must see TV for any curious person -- it almost doesn't matter which 20 minute talk you choose. They are all hidden treasure waiting to be discovered.
What I have been doing is downloading them to my iPhone and listening to a few each day during my morning run. Sometimes I have to stop and switch to the video, as the visual elements are often amazing -- but mostly I just listen. And then go on thinking about the ideas for days.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
No wonder the Clinton camp would like to bring Florida and Michigan back into the fold. And how stupid it was of the Democratic party to try and disenfranchise these voters! But any attempt to take the results of the February primaries and apply them to the current situation will be as severe a miscarriage of our representative democratic process as if the super delegates were allowed to chose the Democratic party nominee.
There are only two options now for the DNC -- award the nomination to Obama or rerun the primaries in those two states. How terrible for our nation that we will waste $30 million on this exercise. Michigan, by the way is 156 delegates and Florida is 210. So if you combine those two with the 188 in Pennsylvania, there are a total of 554 delegates at stake. Clinton would have to win 162 more than Obama. As close as each of these races has been, do YOU think you would win that many more? Is this worth $30 million that could be used for education in our public schools?
Saturday, March 08, 2008
The lastest video, which I am just posting now, is a rundown on what happened this morning in the session on what teens want from their phones and from the Internet -- attendees couldn't get enough of these 16 and 17 year olds talking about how they are experiencing the world through all of this participatory technology. Check out Jim Hirshfield's summary --
Friday, March 07, 2008
Well guess, what, local yokels, hate to tell you this but… You’re screwed! You bet the internet is going to hurt you.So, not today. Maybe not this year. But really soon now people in the economic bracket that traditionally has supported local public radio will all have the ability to get exactly the programming they want, when they want it, where they want it. And it will be integrated into our cars along with the traffic that is already there on the GPS.
Sure, it will actually probably take 5 years until the "tipping point" -- but why should any of us be supporting radio tower infrastructure? I want to directly support the programming, not the distribution mechanism.
NPR wake up or you will just be replaced by the creative destruction of the Internet.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Advertising is transactional
commercial success is persistent
this creates a conflict
For me this offers a great insight into the potential hazard for marketing professionals -- excluding brand campaigns, a lot of advertising as a medium leads you to think about the transactional impact -- am I going to get more people to buy the product? But you can do so in a way that overlooks the long term -- persistent relationship -- aspect that ultimately determines commercial success.
I was just advising a client today on why NOT to do an email "blast" as part of his company's online marketing campaign. If you look at the activity from a purely transactional perspective you could conclude that if X number of people purchases from the email, the expense of the campaign is covered and the activity is justified.
But if you put the "blast" into the context of developing a persistent presence in a market and a set of relationships in that market, the negative long term effects of being perceived as spammer that sends unsolicited mail could have a much greater negative impact than the transactional value of those one time sales.
This certainly isn't an indictment of all transactional advertising -- but perhaps opens the door to an economic analysis that includes the persistent relationships that a company ultimately is dependent upon for its long term success.
"The fear that Craigslist should be putting in the hearts of classified and Yellow Pages execs worldwide is: what if the "natural cost" of delivering local ads and fostering local markets is incredibly low? If you don't have operators on duty to transcribe (and misspell) ads and if you don't print on paper and haul it all over the place, you can afford to charge only one kind of advertiser -- say, companies placing want ads -- and have that pay for the rest and spill money out the other end.
And that's just classifieds. In Ads and Google we theorized about how Google might just be able to fund major communication infrastructure as a by-product of its core business (which, notably, is also self-serve advertising). What's the natural cost of telecommunications? Customer service? Other sectors?"
Good arguments on both sides -- interesting pattern of agreement that if we can't find information on people through social networks -- we worry. There is (for this techno-connected group) a red flag on people who do not have a healthy online presence.
Monday, March 03, 2008
Thanks for a great experience overall - I am really enjoying my kindle.
I doubt I will say anything that you haven't heard, but here goes:
1) A number of navigation elements are non-intuitive -- in particular the idea of forward and back -- in my mind on a device this is firmly routed in web browsing -- so I expect to go "back" to what I was doing, not the linear "back" of a page turn. For example, if I leave a document to look up the definition of a word, I then want to go "back" to where I was just reading
2) The lack of page numbers is frustrating -- it would be nice if there was some corollary in your book formatting to page numbers so that if someone says "look at page X" then I can get there even though the electronic pagination is different from print pagination.
3) If images are removed, it would be nice to see it noted in the text that in the original book there was an image
4) I canceled my subscription to the NY Times because it is too frustrating to read. Part of that is the news is too old (I am a web junky so last nights news is stale) but part of it is formatting. I hate reading an article and then going back to the list of articles from the beginning to start scanning again for something I want to read. I figured out the trick of jumping to a 'location' but this is an unwieldy hack, forcing me to remember to jump to "78" the entire time I am reading
5) I'd pay to read email on this... of course then I'd want to reply as well :-)
6) I haven't stopped looking for the clock. Why do I have to look at a different device to see what time it is?
keep up the great work!
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The video of Doc Searls' presentation at our New York event on February 13th, 2008 is now live! Go to our site on blip TV to view -- The Conversation Group Videos. Doc talks about the origins of Cluetrain, how the ideas has developed over the past 10 years, what the next 10 years will bring, and about his current research work into what he calls "vendor relationship management" (VRM).
You can also listen to the audio which is available on our iTunes podcast
We will be working to get the other speaker's presentations up as video and audio soon!
Monday, February 25, 2008
Cluetrain at 10 -- http://www.cluetrainat10.com
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Watch our new site -- http://www.cluetrainat10.com
We'll be posting video soon of the event!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Not too late to register though if you aren't afraid of the slush:
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Join us in New York City on February 13th for the first in a series of events this year which will reflect on the 10 years since the publication of the Cluetrain Manifesto.
Doc Searls, co-author of "The Cluetrain Manifesto" and fellow at Harvard's Berkman Institute
Ted Shelton, partner at The Conversation Group
Josh Bernoff, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research
Thor Muller, CEO of Get Satisfaction
Jake McKee, Principal at Ant's Eye View, and past Global Community Relations Specialist for the LEGO Company
Sign up here --> http://conversation.eventsbot.com/
Friday, January 18, 2008
In today's environment where independent information about a product is plentiful, traditional one-way messages to consumers no longer work
It's no secret the Internet has changed the way consumers get information about products and the companies that provide them. Because so much intelligence about a potential transaction is so readily available from independent sources, the message provided by conventional advertising has declined in value to consumers, who even question its trustworthiness.
None of this is to say that traditional one-way advertising—say, the kind you find on TV or in print publications and even banner ads on a Web page—can't play an important role in communicating with customers. At its best, the mission of the marketer is the creation of meaning. Taking a common product and imbuing it with the aspiration of adventure, achievement, or beauty was one of the amazing feats of the 20th century.
continue reading on the Businessweek website... Advertising: Now a Conversation
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
So I watched the debate in Nevada the other night prepared to love Obama and be satisfied with one of the three.
Other than being completely bored by the debate though, my only reaction was one of being disheartened by the candidates complete unwillingness to answer a direct question.
Anyone else have this reaction? I mean, sure -- some of the questions were inappropriate. But rather than just give a rambling non-answer, wouldn't it be better for the candidate to say "I am not going to answer that question." Or better yet, to explain why they won't answer?
Monday, January 14, 2008
Located between Pebble Beach and Monterey, CA in the town of Pacific Grove, Asilomar is an amazing gem. Primarily a "conference center" Asilomar is also available to vacationers when there are rooms unused by the conferences. With beautiful Julia Morgan designed buildings, an incredible beach a short walk from the grounds, and easy access to the best of Carmel, Monterey, and the rest of the area it would be hard to go too far wrong.
There is an interesting trade-off though -- the Asilomar Conference Grounds has been a part of the California Park system since the 1950s and the facilities are operated under an agreement with a concessions contractor. This keeps prices low for such an incredible location, but results on low infrastructure investments. If it wasn't for this arrangement, Asilomar might have long ago been sucked into the Pebble Beach developments that are a stone's throw away. So I am glad that there is a way for families like mine to afford a beach vacation in Monterey. On the other hand, it would be nice if some of the more worn out parts of the facility would get a face lift.
But none of that will impede your families enjoyment -- the staff was great, the facilities include a great room with pool tables, ping pong, and endless board games. The aforementioned beach is beautiful and has something for everyone -- sand castles, nature walks, etc. And we also went wine tasting in Carmel Valley and found some great new wines and wineries!
Highly recommended. Here is the link again -- Asilomar.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
As many people have ridiculed Twitter as being useless as have adopted it as a core part of their online toolset. So with the pro-twitter and con-twitter lines having been drawn, it is refreshing to get an application like Politweets which brings out the really intriguing aspect of Twitter -- the ability to tap into the pulse of some very interesting distributed event (like an election) and see what is happening.
My friend Doug March is one of the people behind Character140, the group that has created the Politweets application. But lest anyone think that they are only trying to show Twitter's good side, last month they released a similar tool called Twittertale.com which shows the use of foul language on Twitter.
Both applications work the same way -- the search through all public Twitter posts to find uses of specific words and display this posts, along the way "ranking" the words for the frequency of their use. In the case of Politweets this also gives us the ability to see how much a candidate is being talked about in real time (at least how much they are being tweeted about).
Is it "citizen journalism" ? I personally think it is more like listening in on a whole bunch of private conversations -- but it is still a fascinating application of social media. And with the primaries in New Hampshire and elsewhere giving us all a lot to talk about, it is also very entertaining and maybe will even give us something to learn about ourselves, our nation, and this radical new kind of community technology.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
The only answer open to me, and every other non Vista user -- ask the sender of the document to resend in an old format.
Frankly it just makes me angry at Microsoft. It can't possibly be helping the impression of them as a company. There is no reasonable explanation for another document format change other than an attempt to force upgrades to Vista.
Couldn't we all simply refuse to use this new document type? Do we need to start a protest movement?